With the conclusion of The Players Championship, the 2019 major season is just weeks away from starting.
While serious bettors have been eyeing the futures market for potential Masters 2019 winners for months, the end of the PGA Tour's Gold Standard event means casual fans looking to bet on golf are starting to seriously consider their tickets for the April tradition.
Coming off his biggest win since taking back-to-back major titles in 2014, Rory McIlroy is now the betting favorite to win the Masters. He's at 15-to-2, or +750, to win his first Masters title and finally complete the career Grand Slam. McIlroy found himself in the final group on Sunday a year ago in Georgia, though he quickly played himself out of contention after missing an eagle putt on the second hole at Augusta National.
Dustin Johnson, who has picked up a win this year at the WGC Mexico Championship and just had his best-ever finish (T-5) at The Players, comes in at 9-to-1 betting odds. While he's never won a Masters title, he has steadily progressed over the years in getting closer to a green jacket.
Tiger Woods is an interesting case in 2019, as many expected the 80-time PGA Tour winner to build on his remarkable comeback 2018 with a dominant campaign. So far, that hasn't been the case in terms of wins. However, he ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in terms of strokes gained per round, putting him squarely in better position statistically than a year ago heading into the Masters.
Woods has fought a balky putter at times, and he's been unable to capitalize on his all-around solid game. However, there are few players who know Augusta National with the same intimacy as Woods, who won his last Masters title in 2005. It's been nearly 11 years since Woods won his 14th -- and, to date, final -- major at the 2008 U.S. Open. Can he build upon his close calls at the Open Championship and PGA Championship last year and summon a 15th major title?
A few names are starting to emerge as really good values as well among the 2019 Masters field, including Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Matt Fitzpatrick, who are both at 100-to-1 and have given serious runs on the PGA Tour in recent weeks.
With his Sunday charge at The Players, Eddie Pepperell has caught the attention of more American golf fans. At 175-to-1 and in the Masters field, there's going to be a small market of fans who want to snag him at that kind of absurd price. Pepperell's short game is a huge strength, but it's his transparency, candor and wit that have endeared him to thousands. His Champions dinner menu would be a thing of culinary beauty.
Still, perhaps the best pick when thinking about value is Tommy Fleetwood. The Englishman came up short in the final group in Ponte Vedra Beach, but his stellar worldwide play the last two-and-a-half years rages on and will surely someday be rewarded with a major title.